Friday, January 22, 2010


"If you've grieved your losses, reclaimed your dreams and articulated your anger, regret will have made you the right kind of tough-and-tender: dauntless of spirit, soft of heart, convinced by experience that nothing based on fear—but everything based on love—is worth doing. Living this way doesn't guarantee an easy life; in fact, it will probably take you on a wondrously wild ride. But I promise, you won't regret it." Martha Beck

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I'm enjoying motherhood, although there have been moments when I asked Ben, "What were we thinking?" But I think it was meant to be. Taz is a delightful puppy who is responding well to training, although there have been moments that it sounded as if she had her neck caught between the bars of the kennel and she was strangling to death. My, what blood curdling screams. It's almost funny.

Not surprisingly I have been reminded of Casey and have had some emotional moments.  It's been two years, but somehow getting Taz triggered some of that missing of Casey. She was a huge part of our (Jared and my) life for 16 years, coming into our lives shortly after arriving in Washington. Part of my agreement with Jared was to get a dog soon after we moved.  Casey was a loyal friend to both of us, but because I was home more she was ever by my side, for walks, as I worked in the kitchen or at my desk, or when I slept. She was a great watchdog, there to keep me company after Jared left, and after long days at school she would be there for me when I walked through the door.

She was always there for me with her beautiful eyes, her unconditional love, her acceptance of every mood. But isn't that a dog for you. There were times I would be so exasperated with her as she was not as well trained as I would have liked. But always loyal, always sweet.

When I met Ben and Shy, she was fully accepting and loved Ben. He loved her as well, but it wasn't the same for him, obviously. His longing went toward Shy who had died a year before Casey.

A few days ago I found some fur that Ben cut off Casey's chest for me after she died. Silly and sentimental, I know. But that's not the worst of it. It was after she was buried that I asked him to dig down in the dirt and cut the fur. Fortunately, he dug directly down to her chest. Sort of a sick thing to do I suppose, but it brought me comfort. Two years later I still have the fur, and find that I still miss her.

I will always remember her as my "sweetie dog," but it's time to say goodbye to Casey (which I thought I had done) and be the best owner/mama I can to little Taz. Today I spent time in the yard with her busy chasing cats, helping me pick up stick for the burn pile (sure she was), and running around.  It was fun having her companionship. In time, I know I will grow to love and treasure her as much as I did Casey.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

California Dreaming

On the spur of the moment we decided to travel to California two days after Christmas. It was to be a February trip, but circumstances pointed our way to taking the trip early.

We basked in the sun in Borrego Springs, Southern California, where my great niece, Tai, my nephew Donald, and wife, Nga, live. It's like going to a resort, but the greatest reward is visiting with them. My sister (in-law), Donald's mother, lives in the nearby mountains and comes down to visit while we are there. She cooked a New Year's Dinner we ate on the patio.

Each morning while we were there I went up on a knoll near their house and meditated and read and prayed on a rock looking toward the rising sun, allowing the sun to thaw the cold in my bones from living in the Northwest (which I love, but just not in January!).

In spite of warm weather, the highlight of the trip was seeing Tai, Donald, Nga, Sue, Stan, Annie, meeting Stephanie and Soleil (my step great niece), Shoshana and David, Aunt Ethel, cousin Cheryl, brother Jay and Jared's dad Tom, stepmom, Carol and Grandpa Glen.  It was an amazing trip of connection, reconnection, family and friends. Everyone took care of us along the way and we basked in the companionship and joy of this trip. Thank you all of you.

Tai walking on a road in her desert domain looking for flowers that
came up in the most recent rain. They are few and far between but
she was able to find some. The ocotillo were blooming.

Tai intent on jumping into her dad's arms from a wall. His hand is in the left hand corner reaching out to her.

Tai with Grandma Sue

Hanging with the Big Horn Sheep. Metal sculptures of mammoths, camels, birds, a padre, sabertooth tigers, and many more have been placed on the desert floor,  a vision of the Avery of Avery Labels, who lives in Borrego.

Sunset over Borrego Springs

Hiking in the slot caves with Ben, Donald, Nga and Tai with examples of layers of sediment over the eons behind them.

A view of the Salton Sea from the off-road park in the Anza Borrego Desert where Donald
does GIS work for the California State Parks System.

Tai, Nga and Martha right before we left Borrego.

Tai with her Uncle Ben

Stephanie, Robbie, Soleil, Kent. Robbie and Kent are two of sister (in-law) Annie's three sons.
 Great to meet Stephanie and Soleil for first time.

Stephanie and Soleil in a quiet moment.

Sorry Stan and Annie for the shot through the window of you in your bathrobe, Annie. Geez. Some photographer I am.

Ben and Martha at the beach in Encinitas, California

Friend Shoshana and Martha, Encinitas. We stayed with she and David and I forgot to get a photo of them together.

Poinsettias with Camarillo, CA in the background

My 94-year-old, Aunt Ethel, who lives in Camarillo. We went to see Avatar with her.

A tree on Mt. Diablo in Central California near Walnut Creek

Admiring teacups with cousin Cheryl. It's only the second time we've seen each other since we were children. (See photo below).
The teacups were sent to me from our distant cousin Jacquie Goudey, who had received them from her Grandmother Porter,
who had also married a Goudey, as did ours.   I brought two of the four teacups for Cheryl's teacup collection
which she began when she and our Grandmother Porter used to share a cup of tea together.

Ben, brother Jay, and Martha, at Jay's apartment in Walnut Creek. Jay took us for a beautiful ride up Mt. Diablo, from which we had a 360 degree view of what we aren't certain since it was so foggy. But on a clear day, Jay tells us we could have seen the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a stunningly beautiful sight.

View from Mt Diablo at about 3700 feet looking over a sea of fog. Looks like we're in an airplane.

Sunset from near the top of Mt. Diablo

Last stop: Grant's Pass, OR to stay with Tom, Carol, and Glen (Jared's dad, stepmom and grandpa).
A delightful visit. A full trip.

Our furry child, Taz

Here is our new little furry wonder, Taz. Ben and I decided to adopt.
She is 8 1/2 weeks old.